CanadaGAP Certification

  • Overview
  • Benefits of Certification
  • Why Work With NSF?
  • Certification Process

NSF is one of only a few organizations accredited to certify to CanadaGAP, a national program consisting of food safety standards and a certification system for the safe production, storage and packing of fresh fruits and vegetables.

CanadaGAP is designed for growers, storers and packers implementing good agricultural practices (GAPs). To become certified, participants must comply with food safety manuals that were developed by the horticultural industry and reviewed for technical soundness by Canadian government officials. The operation must also undergo and successfully complete on-farm audits.

CanadaGAP is the first food safety program in Canada to achieve international recognition by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) as a GFSI-benchmarked standard.

We deliver CanadaGAP certification through NSF-GFTC, part of the NSF International family of companies based in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. For more information, contact us at +1 519.495.0942 or canadagap@nsf.org.

Benefits of Certification

CanadaGAP certification applies to fresh fruits and vegetables (including leafy vegetables and cruciferae; potatoes; bulb and root vegetables; asparagus, sweet corn and legumes; fruiting vegetables; small fruit; tree and vine fruit; and greenhouse production). The standard covers these activities:

  • Production – Field and greenhouse activities
  • Packing – The first time that harvested products are put in packaging materials
  • Storage – Before and after packing, including standalone storage facilities

CanadaGAP is a preventive program, based on hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), which implements science-based measures to minimize known food safety hazards and reduce contamination risk.

Several Canadian buyers, including Loblaw Companies Limited, McCain Foods Canada, Simplot Canada and Lamb Weston, are requiring growers to become certified under the CanadaGAP program.

CanadaGAP is also the first food safety program in Canada to achieve international recognition by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) as a GFSI-benchmarked standard.

CanadaGAP offers five certification options depending on customer needs. Technical requirements are the same for all options; the differences are the number of organizations certifying, the frequency and type of audits, and the level of recognition:

  • C: Single certification; annual audit; benchmarked to GFSI
  • B: Group certification; annual audits; benchmarked to GFSI; developed based on GLOBALG.A.P.’s group certification scheme
  • A1: Single certification; four-year audit cycle (in years 2, 3 and 4, the operator is required to submit a sworn declaration that the facility continues to comply with CanadaGAP program requirements, accompanied by a self-assessment checklist that is reviewed by the certification body and a random audit program); designed to meet Canadian government requirements
  • A2: Single certification; variable four-year audit cycle (in years 2, 3 and 4, the operator is required to submit a sworn declaration that the facility continues to comply with CanadaGAP program requirements. The declaration is accompanied by a self-assessment checklist that is reviewed by the certification body and a random audit program. If selected for a random audit, the scheduled audit date will be extended to four years from the random audit date, which could result in audit cost savings); designed to meet Canadian government requirements
  • A3: Group certification; four-year audit cycle; developed based on GLOBALG.A.P.’s group certification scheme

The GFSI-benchmarked options (B and C) require annual audits and are recognized globally.

Why Work With NSF?

NSF International is the leading global certifier to GFSI benchmarked standards, with exceptional technical expertise, consistently calibrated auditors and ample capacity for a timely path to certification. Backed by nearly 70 years of food safety expertise and a current average of 35,000 GFSI certification audits performed annually, we enable companies around the globe to demonstrate compliance with the most recognized food safety standards in the world.

NSF is accredited by ANSI and the Standards Council of Canada. We deliver CanadaGAP certification through NSF-GFTC, part of the NSF International family of companies. We are one of only a few organizations accredited to certify to CanadaGAP. Our network of highly skilled and experienced auditors helps organizations of all sizes implement complex food safety solutions.

We can help you manage your auditing processes and reduce the risk to your brand.

Certification Process

CanadaGAP certification requires three months’ worth of documentation, or documentation from the start of the current growing season. The certification process follows these basic steps:

  1. Obtain the commodity-specific CanadaGAP manual from the CanadaGAP website
  2. Enroll in the certification program though CanadaGAP (www.canadagap.ca)
  3. Choose your certification body
  4. Undergo an on-site audit
  5. Address any corrective actions (if applicable)
  6. Upon meeting all requirements, receive certification
  7. Undergo annual audits to maintain certification (for GFSI-benchmarked options B & C)

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  • Open Which GFSI standard/scheme should I pick to certify to?

    Several standards fall under the GFSI scope, which can be confusing when you need to select just one. Some standards are geared toward particular industry sectors (GLOBALG.A.P. for agriculture, BAP for seafood), but outside of that, it is up to individual companies to select which is right for them. As your chosen certifier, NSF can walk you through the various standards and provide insight and guidance on which would be most appropriate for your company.

  • Open How can NSF help me prepare for GFSI certification?

    NSF has the expertise and experience to assist your facility at every step in preparing for and maintaining certification to GFSI benchmarked standards including training, technical advice, pre-assessment audits, GFSI audits/certification and re-assessment audits.

  • Open How long does it take to prepare for GFSI certification?

    Preparing for GFSI certification is different for every facility based on the current development of the facility, quality of recordkeeping and the resources your company may have to prepare for GFSI certification.  It generally takes an average of six to nine months to prepare for GFSI certification. Please contact us at +1 877.893.1325 or foodsafetysolutions@nsf.org to discuss the process and determine your estimated timeline to certification.

  • Open How far in advance should I schedule my NSF GFSI certification audit?

    NSF is the largest GFSI certification body in the world, certifying to nearly all categories within the GFSI standards. We recommend that you schedule your audits as far as six to nine months in advance to assure the date(s) you desire. Many factors determine availability including the category, time of year, standard, etc. Contact us at +1 877.893.1325 or foodsafetysolutions@nsf.org to discuss our availability for your category and desired standard.

  • Open What is CanadaGAP?

    CanadaGAP is a food safety program for fresh fruits and vegetables. The program consists of national food safety standards and a certification system for produce suppliers. Two manuals, one specific to greenhouse operations and one for other fruit and vegetable operations, have been designed for companies implementing good agricultural practices (GAPs) in their operations. The program is based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and undergoes a rigorous technical review and oversight by Canadian government officials.  The program is open to suppliers who need to demonstrate to their customers that they are meeting food safety requirements. Program participants are required to pass a third-party audit specifically based on the CanadaGAP manuals.

  • Open Is CanadaGAP a government program?

    No. CanadaGAP is owned by CanAgPlus, a not-for-profit corporation. However, government has played a key role in program development, and maintains oversight of any changes to technical requirements. Each commodity-specific module has undergone a rigorous technical review by a team of specialists from the federal and provincial governments. The program’s development was made possible by federal funding.

  • Open How does CanadaGAP compare to other food safety programs around the world?

    CanadaGAP is the first Canadian food safety program to be internationally recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). In May 2010 GFSI formally benchmarked and approved CanadaGAP certification options B and C as meeting international requirements for on-farm food safety. For more information about GFSI and the benchmarking process, visit www.mygfsi.com.  Through the benchmarking process, CanadaGAP is establishing equivalent status to other internationally recognized food safety programs, such as SQF, PrimusGFS and GLOBALG.A.P. (food safety elements only). These efforts position CanadaGAP-certified companies to remain competitive and use a unique, made-in-Canada program to meet international customer demands.

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  • NSF has been an invaluable partner in planning the transition of Yum! suppliers to global food safety certification. They are true industry experts with unmatched knowledge of best practices and global supply chain solutions.Mary Townsend-Smith, Yum! Restaurants International

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